Scared to Apply?                                                        by Patti Brugman

         Now that it’s October, we’re seeing two types of students: those who are full of gusto, and those who’d rather forget the whole thing. The first type meet with their counselors and college reps, do research on their own, and are filled with desire to get the application process going. They are self-motivated and determined to apply to as many schools as they can before the November 1st Early Action deadline. The second type is different.

         A good and capable high school senior can become unmotivated this time of year because of fear. It doesn't help that his/her parents call nightly from the other room to “get going on your applications, honey." This student might be going to the workshops at school and doing the assigned essays for English, but all without enthusiasm. What creates great energy in one student and saps it from another?

         No matter the student’s grades, this is a time when fear and self-doubt can take over. Sometimes a high school senior, looking out at the big world of college, sees the leap as too great and the chances of falling too certain. It’s a complicated process just to apply to colleges, but to think that all that work might result in rejection makes it hard to even get started.

         When we work with students, the most important thing we discover is that each person has a wonderful story to tell. Finding those stories through the essay-writing process is one of the most rewarding jobs we do with students. Through their own writing, our students see how much they have to add to the diversity of any college on their list.

         Just by getting their Common Application, UC, and supplemental essays done, reluctant students become self-motivated students. Suddenly, they are studying again with energy and focus. And they are making plans for a positive future because they know that they will have one.

         A good college application essay is all it takes to add some kick to the step of any student in October of senior year!